Social Media

Only 10% of Your Friends See Your Facebook Posts, And Only 1% Like It.

Post by: Robin Davey, Head of Music and Film Development at GROWVision.

image from 1.bp.blogspot.com How do I know this? Well I conducted a simple experiment that you are all welcome to replicate.

I simply posted on my wall asking anyone who saw the post to like it. Of my 913 friends, 93 responded by clicking the like button.

If you do try, I would be very interested to see your results, but my thinking is that around 10% is an accurate assessment.

I have written before about the importance of being in control of your fan base and a strike rate of 10% could be considered pretty good for Facebook.

However, that is the amount of people that potentially see the post. It does not represent the people that are going to click through a link or watch a video.

This number is probably significantly less than the 10%.

In fact, based on the reaction I have had to things I have posted, I would say that it is more like 1%, and that's if the post is particularly popular.

OTHER ARTISTS

So I decided to randomly look at popular bands on Facebook – I am rounding off these numbers to make them easier to understand.

The Black Keys have 800,000 fans and they get around 800 likes per post, although they did reach 7,000 when they said 'Lotsa Grammys".

Justin Bieber has 22,000,000 fans and gets between 25,000 and 50,000 likes per post.

Mumford and Sons have 1,300,000 fans and have recently pulled an impressive 17,000 likes on one post that simply said, "TOUR!!!"

But how impressive exactly is that?

Well the Black Keys, at 800 for the less popular posts, works out significantly below 1% of their fans choosing to like it, and just under 1% for their most popular post. Bieber's rampant fans achieve similar numbers. Mumford's impressive number is actually only just above 1%.

So my personal findings seem pretty accurate when compared to band profiles.

What's more, the most popular posts seem to be a pub like cheer from fans, a proverbial GOAL for their team. This appears to be quite telling of what peoples mind set is when they are browsing their Facebook page.

IS IT WORTH IT

Is putting time and effort and even money into you Facebook page really worth it?

Well, with those figures, it is up for you to decide. Of course, there is no harm in having a page and updating it, but if you are questioning if Facebook popularity will make or break your band, it's pretty clear that the answer is a resounding no.

To me it further indicates the frailty of relying on social networks as a means to achieving success.

Since my band The Bastard Fairies announced that we were no longer updating our Facebook page, we have had a further 1000 fans like the page. It seems simply having it there as a placeholder, is actually not much different from working the page and posting regularly.

I am not saying these numbers are conclusive, and I am all ears to hear if you have managed to achieve different results getting people to interact.

From a personal point of view, it further drills home the fact to me, that direct contact with fans via email, is the most effective and essential tool to successfully keep them updated.

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40 Comments

  1. I beg to differ! Many many ppl use FB but not to its full potential as they don’t bother or even know how to ‘like’ something or perhaps not even check their FB pages that often so I think your test is not so accurate, although interesting.

  2. The problem is that engagement can’t always be measured. Just because someone didn’t “like” a post, doesn’t mean that it wasn’t effective. Maybe instead of clicking the like button, they clicked the link in that post to go buy a ticket, or mp3, or whatever.
    Don’t underestimate the lurkers, and the ones who aren’t going to just like something because you asked them to (“if u see this, click like”, please).
    Also remember, it’s not just about posting something, it’s about actually talking to people. If you’re just blasting “look at me”, it’s not a surprise it’s only 1%.
    I did some research a while back, and looked at some of the numbers on likes vs. fan count. I found that even the most stupid posts gained about a 1% like/comment rate, while the posts that seemed to have more value earned even higher. That value was either a question (what do think of our new album cover?) or valuable information. Those garnered the highest comment/like rate than the “hey I just farted” posts.
    Oh, yeah, and just because it’s the black eyed peas doesn’t mean they’re doing it right!

  3. Robin, interesting little experiment. I think that the time you post is also a significant factor in this – say you post this at 8pm on a Tuesday.. depending on the demographic.. I feel that many 18-30 year olds are on fb at this time and may increase the response #s. I will try this. I’m interested in seeing the response.

  4. Actually, FAR less people see your post – each like bumps your post a bit higher in your friend’s feed, which means 93 likes would make it more likely that the rest would see it. If you only get 2-3 likes for each normal post, that’s because far fewer than 10% actually saw it. By asking people to click like you’re effectively skewing the results of your experiment by having your post artificially bumped and alive longer.

  5. By default, users’ news feeds only show items from people they interact with most. So if you don’t interact with someone a lot, it’s likely that they won’t see your posts in the first place.
    Most people don’t even realize that the news feed isn’t set up to show activity from everyone.
    This is a setting controlled in Edit News Feed Options (choose ‘Edit Options’ from the dropdown beside ‘Most Recent’.) Of course, this only controls how YOUR news feed works…

  6. If you’re talking about posting to FB with commercial intent and employing a random approach, the results will disappoint. Strategize Facebook posting the same way you would, say Google Adwords – combined with basic measurement and record keeping. You think about audience behavior, availability (tip: 50% of corporate America still blocks FB) and your longer term goals. A more strategic approach (http://www.buzzmaven.com/2011/02/quick-tip-using-hootsuite-and-google-spreadsheets-to-boost-social-rank.html) will drastically improve visibility of your work

  7. Thanks for the replies everyone.
    FYI You can read my music think tank article on how to best utilize facebook, and it is something I have put a lot of time into researching.
    The article is here http://www.musicthinktank.com/blog/how-to-successfully-grow-your-fan-base-using-facebook-and-no.html
    With smart posting and refraining from spamming it is possible to gain more than average interactions, however I feel that even above average is not gonna take you much past a 2% strike rate.
    I do agree with the comment that there are a lot of lurkers on facebook who don’t interact and this has to add a degree of reach to your posts.
    Interestingly now band pages do give you an impressions vs interaction stat at the bottom of posts when you are the admin of a page. However again looking into this it seems to confirm my findings above.

  8. Have fun with Facebook. Add more fun and you’ll get more attention. Try using an audio app like ours (Tinyvox) or Soundcloud to post song ideas to the web and actively solicit feedback on music you’re creating as you’re writing them, before release. This article is very interesting for sparking thought, thanks!

  9. Honestly, I’ve always felt that it’s all just a game. I’ve spoken with an engineer who worked at Electric Ladyland Sudios in NYC who has worked on albums from Interpol, Paul McCartney, and Courtney Love (to name a few) and he said that surprisingly most of the label people still focused greatly on Myspace page presence when considering new acts. I was surprised because even then it was known that Myspace was dying out, although the industry has always been hesistant to change. I would think by now, FB is the place they are going. FB has managed to do something Myspace couldn’t and that have it’s logo associated with almost, if not all, major business associations and there marketing.
    For bands that are already signed to labels it’s just another way to market and keep their presence known while new and unsigned artists can try and make a statement while building their own fan base. Yes, in the end, email will always be king and somewhat more permanent, but it’s just far easier attracting attention and reaching fans through FB.
    Free album download at http://www.facebook.com/chancius

  10. The main point he makes is that everyone does not see what you think they see, the discussion isn’t about whether they literally ‘like’ or choose to interact with the content. People have to see it before you even get that far. On another note the life span of a tweet is about 4 minutes. These are things artists must consider when promoting and creating awareness. The fact that most artists are not aware of these things is the problem. A lot of times chalking it up to lack of support or people not caring. Makes it real easy to become bitter and jaded about fanfare. If you have 4000 friends but only 30 of those friends see your post, well you figure out the rest. And that goes for emails and whatever methods you use to promote.
    Artists can not rely solely on social networking tools. They must get acclimated with how those tools work totally and the pros and cons to using each. A better understanding of how a program works allows for a much better results when you use one.
    But I don’t know anything so PayMeNoMind.(Get it, it’s a reference to my site?):)

  11. I wonder what percentage of your readers write comments on your blogs. Because if they’ve read it and you asked for a response, obviously everyone would reply.

  12. Facebook is more of a “shared interests between people that know each other” type of deal. It’s not so much a “go-to for all the latest updates and news on your favorite stuff”. All too often do I find some of my friends with a resounding 1000+ likes, interests and other such things on their profiles. Judging from this, unless they have no life, I really doubt that it is humanly possible to keep up with all that stuff.
    People take a few seconds looking at something, like it or don’t, and move on. Simple as that.

  13. Facebook fan pages are more about perception to businesses..the more likes the better..world is a lil vain so get used to that.
    Also your results may vary with YOUR activity on Facebook, if you answer every comment and communicate with everyone there who leaves comments then that can increase your responses..
    And Whoring is happening on Facebook too..you can see people doing same thing as they did on MySpace – add tons of people you dont know so you look cool with tons of friends…
    Facebook isn’t perfect and it wont be be its a good tool still!

  14. Not sure how valid this experiment would be because if someone I didn’t like asked me to like the post, I wouldn’t like it. If I was looking at it on my iPhone I wouldn’t like it if I was in an area with no 3G or slow internet.
    Facebook also delivers out reports on usage and impressions of your Facebook page, and with the admin view you can also see the exact number of impressions of every single status/update (although impression may just be the number of times that status/update has featured in a news feed… doesn’t really account for people skimming through their news feed and not reading) and what % “interacted” with the status/update.
    I also work as a music journalist and an editor for a website, and can say that artists who do not update their Facebook profiles/pages are shooting themselves in the foot because the media (and venues, promoters, etc.) will use the information on your Facebook page and other social media outlets to supplement the information given to us in pressers and bios. Facebook also has the highest conversion rate out of all the social media outlets.
    Even for Valleyarm (digital distribution company), we do look at Facebook to see whether an artist is worth pitching to iTunes, Amazon and the like to have a featured release.

  15. Why don’t you try telling people that everyone who posts will get $20 dollars from you and that 1 person in the like will win an ipad? See what your LTR is then (Like through rate– i made that up just right now).
    Or if you don’t have that kind of cash, why don’t you try the exact same post, but share a picture of an attractive woman’s face wearing something really bright (red works well), and THEN tell people to simply “like” it, explaining the purpose of your experiment.
    In both cases I think your measurements will change rapidly. As someone who has considerable experience with putting up ads and buying fans that actually work for companies (tracking links tell us how much money is going in and out and how long until we make our money back), I can tell you that your assumptions are kind of flawed.
    Try creating an ad and seeing the variety of choices you have for targetting. Take a look at the extremely precise and granular measurement facebook provies you so that your ads have a high CTR and social CTR (ads which show pictures of your friends who have “liked” the ad)
    The people who also see your post increases the more there is engagement. This algorithm is much like “pagerank” for google. So a shared post with a lot of interest is shown more to people. I heard of it referred to as “edgerank” which is based on your social graph.
    There are truly social people who get a lot of interest all the time and are relevant to a lot of people, and their posts get a lot of exposure on Facebook.
    Hope this gives you food for thought.

  16. Facebook is overrated. It’s just an information jungle and people post too much crap. How can you really follow your friends, if you have 1000? or even 300 is a lot. Who has 300 friends in real life? Nobody. Facebook is just a way to relax, that’s all. I don’t take it too seriously, although I check every day, but more and more sloppily.

  17. Email doesnt always work as not everyone Emails. I social network, but rarely read my emails… I am a Bastard Fairies fan that no longer hears much about them… Sad 🙁

  18. You can actually measure the “reach” of your Faceobok page using “stream impressions.” (Only for fan pages and open-graph likes on domains.)
    The default insights gives you “Total stream impressions.”
    If you want to measure “unique stream impressions”, you have to use a fan page analytics tool like http://PageLever.com

  19. Regardless of the exact numbers, you make some really good points. Facebook has some value but it’s really all about the mailing list.
    If you use double opt-in with a company that has high deliverability like AWeber and you have a good relationship with your list and maintain it well, then you can get open rates over 80% on an email blast. That’s 1000x more valuable than a Facebook post.
    Again, Facebook pages have their advantages. You can use FB a lot more without burning people out and you can have some fun with it, but it will never come close to the importance of email and it certainly isn’t a suitable substitute for a legit mailing list – just ask any band who spent their time and resources accumulating Myspace friends.

  20. What you failed to consider is that most adults who do not live inside the internet bubble, which is the vast majority of the population, consider “liking” a post as being a follower as opposed to a leader. It’s a sign of intellectual and personal weakness to click “like”, just because some guy said to.
    Hardly a representation of who sees your message. Your audience is seeing the message, they just don’t want to be seen as seeing the message. Most people are overly concerned that they will be seen as being a facebook addict, a social media stalker, a person with such a poor social life that they feel the need to interact with each and every status update.
    People in general want to seem much more hip and socially engaged in the real world.
    I’m afraid your experiment was doomed for failure from the onset.

  21. Maybe he should’ve said if you ‘see’ this post just respond to it. Similar to if you ‘see’ this tweet, tweet me. He’d be getting away from the focus on “Like” then. His whole point was to see how many people actually see the post. He should do it again without asking people to “Like” it. Because even if people are clear that it’s an experiment, some will not relinquish the power of a “Like”. Silly but whatever.
    On another note a couple weeks ago we found on Facebook that the only people that were seeing your status in the news stream were the most recent people that interacted with you until you modified your settings for more. That’s another major factor of course as to why more people don’t see you in the news stream. Once again if you have 3,000 plus friends and your setting only allows for the last ten people you interacted with to see your status then that cuts the probability of people seeing it dramatically. Mind you a lot of people, myself included don’t bother to look at the news stream nor the public timeline on Twitter.
    Once again it’s important for artists to realize that simple everyone does not and will not see what you have to say. The most important thing is to build yourself up so that people anticipate when you do say something. “Direct to fan” takes interaction. You have to engage them. You can’t just toss a message up and see who bites.

  22. Having a solid opt-in list is major. I deal with a lot of young artists that have no clue about the importance of a mailing list. They rely on getting information out via tweets and Facebook invites and wonder why that’s not driving people to their show and why they’re not getting more downloads and selling merch.
    Every so often I stop to see how people that follow what I do as an artist are taking in the information I put out. While you can’t accommodate every single person you can grasp a greater idea of what’s working if you actually try and if simply ask.
    The relationship that you have with your audience is a major component in this discussion. Some may not actually have one yet so they’re having a hard time. When you do all this promoting well you’ve got to be concerned with your approach to garner support. Do you just want attention? Is it all about you? Or do you really want to share something real with people (or at least pretend too)? Once you’ve figured that out, it gets a lot easier.

  23. Yes that is very interesting mike. My results came after 24hours, which meant its popularity and impressions, due to the amount of likes, did indeed give it a wider than average scope.

  24. God how I hate Facebook and the endlessly dull posts 90% of my friends think anyone will find REMOTELY interesting. I’d sooner shoot myself than “like” 90% of what anyone, including bands I adore, post on FB. It all fucking sucks. Face it. Facebook is for fronting and I want no part of it except the invites to parties.

  25. Even if the numbers are off or varies from person to person, this does post does make you think.
    Looking at it from the other side, I tend to not do much browsing around while visiting Facebook. And I’m sure I’m not the only one. This seems consistent with your conclusion here.

  26. I totally agree with the article… I see most of my own friends and relatives won’t look at most posts on FB if they don’t pertain to them directly… Not enough time in the day to go thru all your FB posts!
    Andre From Idlewood
    facebook.com/andrefromidlewood
    Please “LIKE” my page and support indie/local music!

  27. I hope you truly did not stop or plan to forever stop updating your page. You missed one key fact…FB is an incredible way to promote your ban/music for free!!!. Bands will gladly load up a van, put gas in it, pay for hotel and food, to go do a free show or one that pays next to nothing, but you think its too much to type in a few words? Common! Did you ever also consider that your fans don’t and should not be liking everything you put up. It says “like” If you mention the nice tofu burger you had while on the road, why should I “like” it? So while the research is a bit of a downer, its nice to know people don’t just willy nilly like everything. Continue that research, its good work, but with the aim of showing us how to effectively promote using FB, not why we should stop it.

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